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tv   The Chris Matthews Show  NBC  January 13, 2013 10:00am-10:30am PST

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second inaugural many think is the greatest speech in all of american history. i'm chris matthews. and welcome to this show. the huffing post, howard fineman. "the christian science monitor's" liz marlantes. kasie hunt from nbc and politico's john harris. first up, the scene is set. there's no mistaking that barack obama is resolved to make his mark in the second term. squaring off, already for the fights over debt, guns, and getting the team he wants in the cabinet. he might look to another second term democrat who had this declaration to congress. >> i know this is not going to be easy. but i really believe one of the reasons the american people gave me a second term was to take the tough decisions in the next four years that will carry our country through the next 50 years. we owe it to our country and to our people. chris: howard, everybody's talking about what kind of approach is obama going to take this second term. is he going to be conciliatory? or is he going to be mr. tough
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guy? >> he wants to get things done by being tough and even confrontation. in the first term he tried to change the tone of washington as the outcider, sort of by a combination of aloofness and steady thought. now it's in your face. and he's going to be that way with joe biden at his side. because this is how he validates his presidency. things like health care have to be implemented. things like gun laws and so forth have to be passed. he's decided that the way to get it done is to confront the republican party which is in a weakened state right now. chris: if he hits them hard, charles krauthammer said he's doing this not just to get his goals achieved but to crack the other party. to force them to choose and take the suburbanites as i said in the opening and force them to sit at the side where the hard right or somewhere in the center. crack them. do you think he's up to that, too? >> i agree with howard -- what howard said and i agree with what krauthammer said about the goal. the problem with that is it doesn't obviously lead to a consequential second term t can lead to some political victories in which he's on the
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right side of public opinion and maybe manages to get through some small initiatives through. by cracking off the republicans. there's -- if you think the big issues of the country are immigration, long-term debt, some of these other structural issues, as obama has said, there's no way to achieve those through the confrontational approach. the confrontational approach he believes is the only one he has. conciliation doesn't work. but it doesn't lead to a consequential second term. chris: hits them hard. go ahead. >> i disagree with that. he thinks he can pick off another -- crack the shell of the republican party, pick off just enough votes to get a lot of his things done. chris: let's go to the question where the fault line is in the republican party. if you're on the other side of the president where he is and you have to con fron him on guns and debt and immigration down the road where is the fault line where you can break off a third of the republican party? >> it's pretty clear that there are republicans who really want to be seen as governing. that's what happened with the fiscal cliff. chris: who are they? >> well people like paul ryan who said i wasn't elected to come here just to stand in the
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way of everything. there are republicans who want to do serious things. on debt. on immigration. they know that the party has a huge problem with hispanics that they have to fix. >> and the other flip side of this is you've been hearing some paranoia from republicans is another way you can crack the republican party or split them is by forcing them to take those things like taxes, and then perhaps leading to a primary challenge for those republicans who voted in favor of higher taxes. chris: somebody on the hard right then? >> as we saw in recent elections democrats have a pretty good track record in general elections against some of these fringe candidates. chris: well said. >> chuck hagel. big discussions. unlike with susan rice where she hung fire for weeks and was dropped, or she dropped herself, this time he stuck with hagel after all the heat against him on -- some from the gays and the left and the neo-cons and where is he heading? put a guy out there in your face as howard said? >> he thinks that he can win. first of all it wouldn't look good if he backed down after what happened to susan rice and i think he thinks he can win this. and there are certain things about chuck hagel's resume that
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set with what he wants to do with defense. cutting defense spending, that sort of thing. it makes sense so he's going to stick with his pick. chris: is hagel, barack obama with a war record, is he really the guy that -- that obama has been hiding, more liberal on foreign policy? >> i believe that's right and he wouldn't have picked him in the second term unless he thought they were in sync on the larger philosophy of what they want. for the american force in the world. chris: a real statement picking this guy? >> he also thought he would give him cover on the necessary defense reductions. he's a republican. therefore, he helps them with that. that's pretty much shot. chuck hagel is no longer seen as a republican. he's seen as a -- an outliar. chris: let's talk about guns. this is tough. guns. can he get something? can he get something big? >> you're seeing that argument sort of play out right now in the white house. with -- looks at whether they will push for that. full ban on assault weapons instead of going after the magazines to -- or the clips. chris: and will they go for the whole enchilada?
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that senator sfeen has been pushing for years, -- feinstein has been pushing for years, where you outlaw certain kinds of assault weapons and semiautomatic rifles? >> i don't think they know yet and still feeling their way. this is one of those issues that democrats have been so scared of for so long. and they're -- there's still a hangover from that and also this sense that the demographics out there have changed. that the sentiment surrounding it has changed and nobody is quite sure where the politics are on this right now. they're still feeling their way. >> if i -- if can i interpret joe biden correctly, and i've been listening to him for a long time, i think he's saying that the congress will not vote for a full ban on so-called assault weapons. that you go after the clips and talk about mental health care and -- chris: background checks? >> full background checks. the n.r.a. is going to be too smart by half here. they're going to totally oppose any kind of gun restrictions. and what they're going to end up with is the kind of background -- full background check scheme that the tea party types and the n.r.a. really
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don't like but what's really necessary. chris: let's talk about the n.r.a. this week they were very rejectionist and said get out of here and we're not doing anything. where are they going to end up? >> as howard was just saying on the background checks, one of the things that makes that particular issue different is that you have a lot of industry onboard. so people who sell guns, a company like wal-mart, they benefit if background checks are being applied to the loophole gun sales that currently are actually stealing their business. so areas where the n.r.a. can find common ground with business and common ground with the white house is where you will see the most action. chris: when it's all done and the dust settles what will the american people do through their congress to get something done on gun control? >> small proposals is the only one that can reach the floor of the house and the only one can that pass. comprehensive large proposal is a political statement but there's no way that become a legislative reality. chris: debt ceiling coming up very fast next couple of weeks. how bad is it going to get? >> i think it can be very bad. both sides have positions that are -- genuinely playing chicken and both are prepared to crash the car.
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i think if anything this is more stark than the crisis that we had. chris: who gets blamed? by the american people when we see the government stop and our credit rating get bounced down again? >> republicans would and they know that. chris: they win. >> they're afraid of a debt ceiling confrontation or actually defaulting on the debt. they don't want to be blamed for that. >> the tea party people are not here to legislate. they're here to de'mon strailt. -- to demonstrate. they didn't get to do it on the fiscal cliff in the end. they want to do it to something and go over the edge. and this will take them over the edge and they will lose politically and the president is going to have to scramble to shut things down. and credit ratings will be affected. chris: when is the public going to make a verdict on whether they like that kind of behavior? >> they sort of did in the last election. chris: and 12 of our regulars including you, howard, can president obama split off enough republicans to win the big fights copping up on debt and the budget -- coming up on debt and the budget and guns? eight say yes. four say no. howard, you voted with the majority nt at least on the debt and budget issues and
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you're wary on the gun thing. >> yeah. and for the reasons that john was saying. because a lot of democrats who will be running in red states, in 2014, don't want the burden of too much aggressiveness on the gun issue. as they take on republicans. it's red state politics. but on the other things, yes. i think in the end, that the president will pick off enough republicans as he did in the tax fight to be the winner. chris: let me ask you about this chuck hagel thing. a roundtable on this. will hagel get confirmed, john? >> i think so, yes. there's overwhelming deference for cabinet picks. chris: on the hill now? >> likely. look to democrats like chuck schumer as ways to read what's going on. chris: do you think -- he'll tell us a lot? >> yes. chris: and carden. some. other guys from big cities. >> i think he will come through in the end. >> yes, he will. but the people who might otherwise oppose him are going to get something out of it. i don't know what. chris: what about -- >> chuck schumer. >> not just chuck schumer. but other reassurances, for example, among the neo-cons.
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about iran, about israel, and so forth. you're going hear a lot more statements publicly from the president in order to make sure that hagel gets through. which he will. chris: let's go about the gun issue. which is very troubling to a lot of people. will we get a substantial package that looks like the n.r.a. didn't like it but it still passed? >> it will be small and discrete. >> they're more likely to get a smaller package than a larger one. >> i agree but this issue is moving faster than people think. chris: are we in a unique time where people will bounce against the n.r.a. and say no, you're wrong this time? >> the n.r.a. will oppose everything so yes. and in that sense. you'll get background checks and might get some limits on the high capacity clips. and health care -- and mental hettle proposals that relate -- health proposals that relate to gun violence. chris: marginal victory for the president. and we have talked about the pitfalls of second terms for presidents. richard nixon and ronald reagan could testify about that one. as catastrophic as nixon's
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second term problems were for him, and the country, they became great material for the old johnny carson show. first, there was the arab oil embargo and those gas lines. >> the president said that the energy crisis is over. but the prosh -- the problem remains. the energy crisis is over. i liked it better when we had it when the gas lines were shorter. [laughter] >> yeah. right on. [applause] chris: by the way, that's high fashion men dressed back in the 1970's. when you lost johnny carson you were in trouble. and that was before watergate started dominating the headlines. day after day. >> the watergate stories, right? the president is very aware of it and he said the papers were full of it. [laughter] have you seen the headlines? "new york post" said the white house is in shambles. the news had doims pending. the -- had indictments pending. the jewish daily oy --
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chris: two-term ronald reagan. johnny carson talked about the president's age. and nancy's spending habits. but then there was the second term. iran-contra scandal. >> well, my favorite show got back on television today. the iran-contra hearings. did you watch it? yeah. reagan was watching the hearings today. with his aides. and he was -- he would say to his aides, do i remember that or not? [laughter] now the president said today that he thinks americans are bored with the iran scandal. that's what the president said. he says they're not watching the hearings on tv. and they're going back to the regular daytime tv shows like old reruns of "mash." and i quote "there ain't no smoking gun." wasn't that one of his lines from "cattle queen of montana"? chris: president obama wants to lay out his goals but can he still make his second inaugural address one that soars? one for history? plus scoops and predictions right from the 
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chris: welcome back. we are just a week away from the inauguration. and president obama's no doubt well along in composing his address. will he make one for history? will the model for most of americans what many consider the greatest speech in american history is abraham lincoln's second inaugural. lincoln spoke to the great divisions the country faced then. toward the end of the civil war. here's a diagramization. >> with malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as god gives us to see the right. let us strive on to finish the work we are in. to bind up the nation's wounds.
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to care for him who shall have born the battle and for his widow and his orphan. to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves. chris: liz, we got divisions but nothing like the civil war. 600,000 people dead. but this -- will the president offer a unified theme or laundry list in this inaugural? >> i think it's safe to say that he's going to try to find some kind of uniting theme to bring the country together. and to create a sense of purpose, common purpose in this speech. but of course the thing about inaugural speeches, what makes it inaugural speech like lincoln's great is the presidency was great. we looked back on the great speeches because those were the great presidents. and f.d.r. is the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. the great speech because he lifted the cent out of the depression. if he failed we would be writing that speech off. so in a way, it's what the president does. chris: one of the ununifying factors in our life today is
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the president. there are people in this country who hate him, hate his guts on the right. >> a line you didn't show in the clip but the heart of the second inaugural by lincoln where he says each side reads the same bible and prays to the same god and invokes his aid against the other. lincoln says the almighty has his own purposes. the relevance of that is both our parties in washington today feel firmly like that they are -- they are not just right but capital r right. and when you have that kind of conviction, the other side is not just wrong, but they're evil. that's where you have the -- sort of the irreconcilable conflicts that. describes our politics today. there's simply no overwlap between what the core of house republicans believe and the people that elected those versus what democrats believe. they think that he's not just wrong but wrong headed and wrong hearted. chris: can he reach the country over the head of this divisive political class? >> he certainly looks as though he will have the opportunity to
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do that. if you look particularly to his election night speech, it was a little bit overlooked. but if you go back and read that, there are lines in there like we rise together and we fall together. as a nation. those touched on a lot of these unifying themes that come back up in the inaugural. he also has a state of the union and wants to do a laundry list of policies. chris: that's coming up on february. what can he do this -- to unify the country? there's a third over there, a quarter, maybe less, of people who just holdouts and really don't like this guy. >> i don't think he's going to use the -- the entire speech on inauguration day to try to bridge all of the cultural and social divide in the country. i really don't think he's going to do that. i think he has a to do list. and i think he recognizes that to redeem the promise of his presidency, he's now one of only seven or eight presidents who have won two elections by 51% of the popular vote. he's got a chance to be a very effective if not great president. if he gets things done in the second term on behalf of the
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american people. and leave aside the idea that he's going to be able to bring over the tea party people. the people that john is talking about. it's just not going to happen. he's better off ignoring or bringing them along by circumstance than trying to woo them with rhetoric. he's done doing that. that's what we've been talking about this whole show. chris: when we come back scoops about this whole show. chris: when we come back scoops and predictions ♪ if loving you is wrong, i don't wanna be right ♪
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chris: welcome back. howard, tell me something i
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don't know. >> paul ryan is running for president again. but he's doing it in a different way this time. instead of focusing on economics, and his big budget thing he's going the cultural route for 2016. now he's pushing a very strong, very toughly worded human life amendment on abortion. i think if and when he runs, h runs cultural in iowa next time around. chris: wow. knocking out santorum. >> yeah. >> staying on the 2016 theme, the other campaign that got a real boost this week is joe biden's presumptive presidential campaign. because suddenly we see him everywhere. he was the hero of the fiscal cliff talks. he's leading the gun violence task force. chris: think he's got the bit in his teeth? do you think he's really running? >> yeah, i think he will. >> on the gun debate we were talking about, this is one thing where the speaker and white house agree that harry reid is the key player. they have to get something through the senate before they can even consider taking it up in the house. and house republicans are going to be looking to make sure that something can get through there. >> chris, more guns.
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among the dynamics that president obama is battling is not just the n.r.a.'s opposition but the real nervousness among some influential democratic consultants, here in washington, who feel that he is risking the opportunity to retake the house in 2014. because the seats he needs are in these rural districts. where the gun issue is difficult. even as public opinion nationally supports the obama position. these individual districts that democrats need are really -- chris: i've studied that and you go down the middle of the country, all those people are pro gun. right down the mississippi. ? wh we come back the -- when we come back, look at that big guy. was the -- was he the face or who is the face of the [ woman ] ring. ring. progresso.
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of green giant vegetables it's easy to eat like a giant... ♪ and feel like a green giant. ♪ ho ho ho ♪ green giant chris: welcome back. this is going to be fun. here's this week's cover of "time" magazine new jersey governor chris christie is on the cover. the big question for us this week, who is the face of the
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republican party right now, january, 2013, howard fineman? >> well, it's obviously the beleaguered john boehner. the person that should be in the next generation is george p. bush, spanish speaking, hispanic -- son of jeb. >> it should be marco rubio. chris: so marco rubio the face of the republican party? >> they would be wise to make him the face of the republican party. but lately the republican that i think has been the most -- the face of the opposition has become lindsey graham who has been in sort of ubiquitous presence on -- on every issue. >> one person who has been aggressive is bobby jindal in louisiana and came out strongly right after the 2012 election. essentially saying the party needed to rebrand itself. clearly looking to get on the forefront of that. >> the honest answer is that there is -- chris: we're looking for honest answers here all the time. >> it should be a blank. a blank page. because that is a key problem of the republican party. if you make me put a face on it, i'll go with howard.
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it's john boehner. and that face stands for a leader who can't lead. because he doesn't have people who will follow. chris: ok. my answer is chris christie. "time" magazine is right because they need a wendell wilke to lead this party, and in terms of attitude as they say around south jersey. and thanks for a great roundtable. howard fineman, liz marlantes, kasie hunt, and john harris and that's the show. thanks for watching. we'll see you back here on thanks for watching. we'll see you back here on inaugural weekend.
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welcome to "on the money." i'm maria bartiromo. the president makes a crucial decision. why there's controversy over his choice for treasury secretary. another new washington battle could move. what could it mean for your money. and the high cost of higher education and how one ivy league institution is fighting it. my conversation with the president of harvard. and what's the buzz, the buzzfeed, that is. the company that wants to be the next media giant and how it plans on getting there. "on the money" begins right now. >> this is america's number one financial news program, "on the money." now, maria bartiromo. >> here's what's making news as we head into a new week "on the money." a changing of the guard at the most important economic post at the obama administration. the president has nominated his chief of staff, jack lew, to replace timothy geithner as treasury secret